Dispatches from NaNoWriMo, Vol. 3

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This is it, writing fans! It’s November 30th, and that means we’ve reached the conclusion of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short, and NaNo for even shorter).

All month long, we’ve been following a group of four ambitious FriesenPress team members as they attempt to write a novel, from scratch, in just 30 days. If you missed our first two stories, click here to catch up!

As NaNo entered its frenetic final days, we took a moment to chat, celebrate, and reflect with each of our writers.


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Astra, Publishing Specialist

Congrats on completing yet another NaNo, Astra! How does it feel? Did you do right by your past self?

I'm overjoyed because this was a record-breaking year for me. Not only did I blow past my personal goal of 75,000, I hit my stretch-goal (finishing the whole book) by the 27th! My final word count was 101,180: the most I've ever written in a single month! I feel like I need to celebrate, but I'm not sure what that will look like. Right now, I'm still too into my book, and have already started cleaning it up for my beta readers.

What an accomplishment! What advice does a 100k NaNo writer have for others?

Getting up early to write before work does wonders! Even though I'm so, so tired from running on so little sleep, for a short burst it really helped keep my creativity fired up. My brain was percolating story all day so that the words flowed really easily when I had time to sit down and write. Also, when stuck, definitely talk to the writing community. It got plot snags cleared up so I could keep writing much faster.

Will you NaNo again next year? Would you recommend it to others?

I definitely will, though I'm not sure yet what project I'll be focusing on next year.

I genuinely feel that every writer should try NaNo. The pressure may be too much for newer writers, but it's all about figuring out how best you work, getting a writing habit set up, and connecting with your writing community. If aspects of the rules don't work for you, then adjust them. The big thing is just to write, however and whatever that looks like for you.

Is there a GIF that summarizes NaNo 2018 for you?

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Ellie, Publishing Specialist

Congratulations are in order - you’ve crossed the finish NaNoWriMo finish line for the third time! How does it feel? Did you do right by your past self?

I learn so much each year I try and this year was no different. I'm proud I committed and wrote every day. Did I hit my word count goal? No. But that was the greatest lesson for me – I learned that in order to get over myself and my perfectionist quirks, I need to be kinder to myself.

So, if I wrote 500 or 1500 words in a day, I considered both to be wins.

NaNo really is about so much more than finishing a book. What advice would you give yourself (or other writers) if you were to do it over again?

Try to get in the habit of writing every day – before you need to do it for NaNo. Write every. Single. Day.

Do you think you’ll try again next year? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, for sure! I learned a lot about myself, my ability to write, and the story I need to tell. There were some major "fail" moments, but I'm certainly ending on a positive note. I now have a great foundation so it's only up from here!

Is there a GIF that summarizes NaNo 2018 for you?

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Nessa, Publishing Specialist

Congratulations for completing your first NaNoWriMo! How does it feel? Did you do right by your past self?

Well, I didn't do nearly as much writing as I had hoped for, so the feeling isn't great. But, to be fair to my past self, I did say I would give it my best shot. And that’s what I did, so I can't be too disappointed! 

It’s a process, that’s for sure. What advice would you give yourself (or other writers) if you were to do it over again?

Don't have too many other commitments going on during this month. On top of NaNo, I had finals at school, freelance writing jobs, and of course my full-time role at FriesenPress. This made it a little hard to get as much writing in as I’d wanted. My advice is to keep a clear schedule, so you aren't overdoing it. 

Do you think you’ll be NaNo’ing again next year? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, definitely! I intend to finish up this book in the subsequent months. But, next year, I'd love to start fresh with something brand-new.

Great! NaNo doesn’t have to end on the 30th. Now, please hit us with a GIF that sums up NaNo 2018 for you.

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 PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA ZAIS PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTO CREDIT: JESSICA ZAIS PHOTOGRAPHY

Jessica, Publishing Specialist

You made it – congrats! How does it feel to cross the NaNoWriMo finish line? Did you do right by your past self?

It feels good! I definitely did right by my past self. I beat my word count from last year, though I wouldn't exactly call myself a "winner". I didn't make the 50,000, but it does seem more achievable now than it did last year, and it is all good fun.

NaNo stretches muscles that I haven't used in a while, and I also did a whole bunch of other stuff that I probably wouldn't have done without a project like this. I read books! I cooked different foods! I cleaned my apartment! I spent more time with friends! Yes, some might call it procrastination, but really this is all about doing something fun and different. 

I really enjoy how you’ve emerged as a life-affirming procrastinator throughout these updates! What advice would you give yourself (or other writers) if you were to do it over again?

It's fun. Don't take yourself too seriously.

Great advice that applies to more than just NaNo. Do you think you’ll do it all again next year? Would you recommend it to others?

Absolutely! It's a lot of fun and everyone has a story in them to tell.

That’s a great note to end on. Please send us off with a NaNo 2018 summary GIF.

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A huge thank-you to our writers for participating in this series with us, and to the readers (like you) who’ve followed along the way! We’ll be back with more NaNo fun in 2019. Write on!

Interviews by Brian Cliffen, Marketing Specialist @ FriesenPress
NaNoWriMo logo courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.